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Rel 101 new religious movements

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  • Question: What is a Cult? What is a Sect? How does one determine when a group stops being a cult or a sect and becomes a legitimate religion?

Rel 101   new religious movements Rel 101 new religious movements Presentation Transcript

  • REL 101 Introduction to Religion New Religious Movements Or Cults and Sects
  • Sacred Community Review
    • Religion informs processes of social identification and community.
      • It acts as an identity marker.
      • It facilities the construction of community.
      • It can legitimize oppositional social identifications – that is it can legitimize prejudices.
  • Sacred Community Review
    • If a particular community stands apart from the commonly held values of the surrounding culture, the community may become an object of discrimination or persecution.
  • Sects - Review
    • A sect:
      • demands greater conformity of its members than a church
      • is exclusive in membership
      • distances itself from the concerns of larger society
      • claims to be the bearer of religious truth
  • Cults Review
    • A cult:
      • is founded by a charismatic leader who remains the focus of the followers
      • normally claims a new revelation from God
      • demands a high level of conformity by its members
      • is viewed with extreme suspicion by established religious communities
    • What is the problem with those definitions?
  • New Religious Movements
    • New
      • Understood as a recent development relative to older established religions
  • New Religious Movements
    • Religious
      • It must involve myths, rituals, beliefs, symbols, sacred texts, etc.
      • Its overall aim must be religious in nature, that is, offering a form of salvation either in this life or the next.
  • New Religious Movements
    • Movement (can be understood in two ways)
      • It generally grows out of a current that moves within a wider organization, or within society as a whole.
      • It is in motion. It is in the process of changing or evolving.
        • Mormonism’s position on polygamy
        • Jehovah Witness rejection of Christian celebrations in the 1930’s
  • Examples of New Religious Movements - Mormonism
    • Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
    • Founded by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York
    • In 1827 he received a revelation from the prophet Mormon. The prophet showed the text of the book of Mormon inscribed on two golden tablets.
  • Jehovah Witnesses
    • Founded by Charles Taze Russell in the late19 th century
    • Predicted return of Christ in 1879
    • Rejected fundamental Christian beliefs such as the doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ
  • Christian Scientist
    • Founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1875.
    • Rejected the Trinity and all sacramentalism
    • Reality exists only through the spiritual. Other aspects of matter and mankind are unreal and illusory.
    • Evil is an illusion
  • The Unification Church (Moonies)
    • Founded by Sung Myung Moon in 1954 in Seoul, Korea
    • Claimed a direct revelation from God directing him to continue the work that Jesus failed to complete
    • Believes communication with the spirits of dead
    • Well known for its mass marriage ceremonies
    • Openly uses its operations for the acquisition of wealth